To learn more about the groups (genera) of Skimmers, click on the links at the right
or in the menu.
There are more skimmers than any other type of dragonfly. Skimmers average
between 1 - 2.5" in length. They are known for their extraordinarily
beautiful coloration, with brightly colored bodies and frequently with flashy wing
patterns. Their abdomens are generally stout and tapered at the tip. A skimmer's
abdomen is usually shorter than their wing. They come in a variety of shapes
and sizes. Some develop pruinosity, a waxy coating that may obscure the underlying
colors. Females are generally less colorful then their male counterparts.
Most Skimmers perch often, usually nearly horizontally on twigs, reeds and low brush
or flat on the ground. They habitually return at frequent intervals to the same
perch, making them easier to observe then many other dragonflies. However, there
are some skimmers, such as gliders who fly for hours at a time and rarely perch.
Skimmers can be seen around almost any body of waters but many favor ponds and lakes.
Because of their coloration and behavior, they are one of the most easily identifiable
of dragonflies and some of the first that attract new observers.
After the females mate, they deposit their eggs by dropping, tapping or splashing
them into the water. Some fly in tandem, in other species the female flies alone
while the male flies above them, an activity called "hover-guarding".
Skimmer larvae are stocky, wide and short and usually camouflaged in shades
of brown or green. Most larvae are "sprawlers" but some species will
also burrow in mud. The larvae usually emerge at night by crawling onto nearby
vegetation and perching vertically.